Erdogan backs off oil row with Trump

Recep Tayyip Erdogan. (Reuters file photo)
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Updated 02 August 2020

Erdogan backs off oil row with Trump

  • The surprise deal last week will allow Delta Crescent Energy, a US company based in Delaware, to develop oil fields under the control of the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces

ANKARA: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is staying silent over an oil deal in northeast Syria to avoid a confrontation with Donald Trump, analysts told Arab News on Saturday.

The surprise deal last week will allow Delta Crescent Energy, a US company based in Delaware, to develop oil fields under the control of the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).

The agreement is thought to have the support of the White House, and follows talks between US Republican Senator Lindsey Graham and SDF leader Mazlum Kobani.

Ankara regards the SDF as a terror group, a political extension of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), and Erdogan was expected to react with anger.

But Joe Macaron, a Middle East foreign policy analyst at the Arab Center in Washington, said Erdogan would not jeopardize his relationship with Trump for an inevitable US oil contract in SDF-controlled areas in Syria when he knows how important oil is for Trump.

“Ankara has made clear strategic gains in Syria and Libya thanks to US support and has managed to push Kurdish forces away from its border while altering the dynamics in Libya and the Eastern Mediterranean,” he told Arab News.

Military analyst Navvar Saban said: “The Americans have a plan for this area but we don’t know any detail about the contract. That is why Ankara did not react strongly.”


Libya’s GNA govt detains 35 Egyptian fishermen

Updated 12 August 2020

Libya’s GNA govt detains 35 Egyptian fishermen

  • The GNA is still holding the fishermen without a clear accusation to justify their detention

CAIRO: The fate of at least 35 Egyptian fishermen hangs in the balance after they were arrested by the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA) on Nov. 2 last year.  

The families of the fishermen have appealed to the Egyptian government to step up their efforts to secure their freedom as Cairo has been working on their release since November.

Little is known about the fate of the fishermen in Libya other than their location, after it was leaked to Egyptian authorities that they were held in the Turmina Prison, which is affiliated with the GNA.

The head of the Fishermen’s Syndicate in Kafr El-Sheikh, Ahmed Nassar, said they had not been able to communicate with the fishermen since last November and after their disappearance they came to learn that the GNA authorities had detained them.

The GNA is still holding the fishermen without a clear accusation to justify their detention. Nassar said that the fishermen were not fishing in Libyan territory without a permit.

Nassar explained that the fishermen were working on Libyan boats. Alongside them were a number of colleagues working on boats that belong to the Al-Wefaq government. They were not approached by anyone unlike their detained colleagues who were arrested and sent to prison without being charged with any crime.

The Fishermen’s Syndicate chief said that people had called on the Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs as well as the government, and the consular section had also been contacted about the matter.

Many of the detained fishermen come from Kafr El-Sheikh, while others come from Abu Qir in the governorate of Alexandria.

The fishermen had been supporting families of up to eight members.

Egyptian authorities say they are exerting great efforts to bring the fishermen back safely, while the fishermen’s families continue to demand safety and justice for the men.